Just Plain Fun! Educational Apps for the Summer

Read KinderTown's reviews of these fun summer apps.

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes encourages children to use their logic and problem solving skills to maneuver shapes and objects into the correct holes in order to advance to the next screen. Busy Shapes is an app inspired by the work of Jean Piaget who proposed that children construct their own knowledge through play, in this case digital play. Busy shapes has 38 levels of play and continues to advance and challenge children as it adapts to their level of learning. It includes an area to set up multiple logins per household. The app does not teach the names of the shapes but encourages free play and cognitive development through experimenting with the shapes. Busy Shapes is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 2-6. The app is colorfully made and includes basic tools along the way to help  children explore the effects of the tools on the shapes.  As the levels become more difficult, multiple tools are presented.  The app is very intuitive for children who are familiar with the iPad. They start dragging the shapes and they are off to solve the problems presented. Parents, you may need to assist when your child reaches a challenging area they can not solve on their own, but generally this app is one your child will be able to navigate independently.

 

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn grabbed my attention, because I can distinctively remember my purple Care Bear that I loved!  The Care Bears are back because, we grew up with them and they remind of us of our own childhood.  I like this app a lot because it is simple, yet presents easy to understand questions in a randomized fashion which kept the attention of our youngest child testers. The app works on a mix of basic Preschool skills such as colors, shapes, letters, memory skills and counting.  The app also rewards children with digital stickers when they answer the questions correctly. The app is free and appropriate for children ages 2-4.

 

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs is an app that practices different types of skills that are appropriate for children ages 3-5.  The app includes 10 mini-games and 8 educational videos for children to enjoy.  The app works on skills such as matching letters, memory skills, identifying groups and looking for differences. Grandma is charming as always and dances, and needs help finding the bugs in her hair.  This app offers great basic skills practice for the summer. Children can also catch fireflies, draw a spider web and eat caterpillar leaves with Grandma. The app is $1.99.

 

How I Became a Pirate!

How I Became a Pirate!

This app by OceanHouse Media is a digital book sure to be loved by your kids.  I know many boys who love to pretend to be pirates, and I often observe large playground toys, or backyard tree-houses imagined into pirate ships. The How I became a Pirate book was a New York Times bestseller and is sure to be a favorite digital book as well. It has two options for reading: Read to Me, and Read by Myself.  The book has several different interactive options. When reading, your child can have the words read again by tapping them or tap the wrapping on one of the pirates heads and hear the word bandanna. This story is perfect for summer because the story begins with a boy using his imagination at the beach spying a pirate ship in the ocean. The pirates come upon the shore and interact with the boy. The boy in the story board the pirate ship and has an adventure. I really like the recording feature on each page.  Beginning readers can read and record their voice. Save the recording and your child can listen to themselves read the story.  This is a great learning activity for children ages 6-8.  It develops fluency and expression while reading and will become a parent favorite as well. The app is $3.99 and appropriate to read with children ages 3-8.

 

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KinderTown Loves Tiggly Shapes!

Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.

Shapes are one of the core learning concepts for early childhood development. Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.

 

Tiggly Shapes

Tiggly combines the digital world with physical manipulatives that are so important for young children. I value hands on learning, and when I saw the Tiggly Shapes I was instantly in love! Tiggly Shapes are hands on 3-D learning shapes (square, circle, star and triangle) that interact with the free Tiggly Shapes apps on the iPad. They are rubbery, durable and easy to grip for little hands. I think this concept is right on target for early learners and I could not wait to try them with children. As I suspected our kid-testers loved them too!

 

Most recently, Tiggly added a bilingual feature allowing you to choose two languages to engage with while playing with the Tiggly apps. Let me overview three of the free apps that go with the Tiggly Shapes. Also, if you aren’t up for purchasing the Tiggly Shapes you can use a lite version of the apps for free. Tiggly Shapes and their apps are appropriate for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. KinderTown rarely recommends apps for children this young, but we feel strongly that the hands on component of these shapes is appropriate for children as young as 18 months when used alongside an adult. Parents, please note that you must match the shapes to the screen when the app launches to allow the Tiggly shapes to sense the screen. Also, check out the parent section in each app for additional information. Tiggly apps are only made for the iPad.

 

Tiggly Safari

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Tiggly Safari invites children to match the correct shape to the outline of the shape shown on the screen. After matching the shape, the app shows the shape, and the coordinating word. Then the shape is made into a safari animal, all while hearing the animal sound in the background. In multi-language mode the name of the shape is said in both languages that are selected. Also, the word is shown in both languages. As the app progresses, multiple shapes are combined to make animals and different orientations of each shape are shown. Tiggly Safari is the app I would recommend using first with your Tiggly Shapes.

 

Tiggly Draw

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Tiggly Draw allows your child to create characters from the Tiggly Shapes. Add a funny face, a mustache or silly feet, and then save the creation to your camera roll. The shape characters come alive with animation and sounds after they are created. Choose from 10 different backgrounds, and the character combinations are endless. Parents, have fun sharing your child’s work with friends and family. In addition to learning about shapes, your child is developing vocabulary associated with character parts as well as giggling over their silly animations.

 

Tiggly Stamp

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Tiggly Stamp is an open-ended creative play scene to use with the Tiggly Shapes. Each time a shape is “stamped” on the screen it becomes an object to play with in the scene. Your child may create an animal, decoration or flower. Many of the scenes presented have a theme often based on the time or year. My favorite feature of Tiggly Stamp is the recorder. This is especially great for developing oral language and interacting with your child. Tell a story about the scene with your child and the voice recorder will record all your interactions. Play your story back or delete it and create another one. This will surely be something you will want to treasure as a parent. I love listening to my child tell the story and I like knowing that I have preserved the sound of her young voice. A great keepsake for any parent or loved one!

 

 

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